Junior Megan Ruonavaara recorded a three-hit shutout this afternoon, leading Stonehill into the NE-10 semifinals for the first time in program history.
Skyhawks advance to NE-10 Tournament semifinals for first time in program history
MANCHESTER, N.H. (April 30, 2015) – Junior Megan Ruonavaara (Rocky Hill, Connecticut/Rocky Hill) tossed a three-hit shutout to lead second-seeded Stonehill College to a 1-0 victory over third-seeded Southern Connecticut State University this afternoon in second round action of the Northeast-10 Conference Softball Tournament on the campus of Southern New Hampshire University.
Stonehill (21-14, 13-8 NE-10), ranked ninth in this week's NCAA East Regional Rankings, advances to the NE-10 Tournament semifinal round for the first time in program history to take on Southwest Division top seed Adelphi University at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow. Host and Northeast Division top seed Southern New Hampshire will play Southwest Division second seed Pace University in the other semifinal game at 2 p.m. Southern Connecticut sees its season come to a close at 19-17 and 11-8 in conference play.
After failing to record a hit over the first two innings, Stonehill snapped the scoreless tie with an unearned run in the bottom of the third that would prove to be the difference in the game. Sophomore third baseman Jacklyn Oleksak (Massapequa, New York/Plainedge) got the rally started with a one-out single up the middle, before advancing to second on a groundout and third on a bunt single by junior outfielder Lauren Esposito (Middlefield, Connecticut/Coginchaug). Classmate Megan Staudle (New Windsor, New York/Cornwall Central) came up next and hit a ground ball that was misplayed by the Southern Connecticut shortstop, allowing Oleksak to score from third.
Ruonavaara improves to 8-2 this spring with the win, as she recorded three strikeouts, did not issue a walk, and faced just three batters over the minimum of 21. The junior was nearly unhittable once Stonehill took the lead in the third, allowing a two-out bunt single in the fourth before retiring the final ten batters of the contest in order.
The Skyhawks had an opportunity to add some insurance in the bottom of the sixth, as they loaded the bases on an error, a single by Ruonavaara and a walk by junior Alison Sumski (Amherst, New Hampshire/Souhegan), but Southern Connecticut junior Kelsey Cockrill (Haymarket, Virginia/Stonewall Jackson) induced a fly out to end the threat.
Cockrill took the loss for the Owls despite giving up just the one unearned run on three hits in her six innings of work.
Seniors Sarah Koerner (Coventry, Rhode Island/Coventry) and Kelly Mitchell (Seymour, Connecticut/Seymour) each recorded singles for Southern Connecticut, while junior Leanna Feerick (Maybrook, New York/Valley Central) doubled in the second inning but was stranded at second base.